Breakdown of Heathers The Musical
Over the years I have developed an extensive list of favourite musicals, and I thought it only right to share a one of them with you. This one in particular is a killer, unfortunately it is only in Australia currently so anyone looking to find it in the UK you may have to resort to repeatedly playing the soundtrack, like me (unless you’re blessed with a generous travel budget). So let me introduce you to the musical masterpiece that is, ‘Heathers The Musical’. If you’re not familiar with this show, why not stick around and take some time to get to know the Heathers.
Based on the 1988 film, of the same title, this rock musical follows a high school nobody, Veronica Sawyer, and her slightly less-than-normal relationship with her psychotic boyfriend, JD. With three social queens amidst Westerburg High, this elite group of ‘Heathers’ strive to cause pain, embarrassment and suffering among the students. With characters dying all over the place, and a strange appreciation for gay sacrificial death, you’re bound to enjoy this show.
This show may have limited roles, but with all that’s happening, you won’t have time to keep track of numerous character so. So let’s get straight to it, here are our main characters, first of all we have Veronica Sawyer, this young, witty, unpopular girl is thrown in the deep end when she’s forced to mock and bully her own best friend in an attempt to save herself from a year of torment. After being accepted into the Heathers clique she finds herself overlooking a fight between some jocks and a mysterious guy, impressed by his courage Veronica finds herself falling dangerously in love with our mystery man, JD. ‘So what’s the deal with this JD guy?’ you ask, well, Jason Dean or ‘JD’ as he is referred to throughout the show, is Veronica’s creepishly charming love interest. Their attraction towards each other is seen from the moment they meet, but no amount of love can cover up the ever so slightly twisted mischief they get up too. I mean, how can killing 3 students, and planning to eradicate the school, be deemed as anything less than casual teenage banter? Their relationship seems to spiral downwards, and keeps going until actual human instinct breaks through. But this chaotic couple are no worse than the ‘almighty bitch’ that is…Heather Chandler, followed by her minions, Heather Duke and Heather McNamara – ‘the Heathers’. Chandler’s narcissistic, self centred lifestyle, is communicated through her highly symbolic red scrunchie which appears throughout the show. If you own that scrunchie, you own the school, surely that’s a justifying reason to feed her a toxic drain cleaner cocktail? No? Well, JD certainly thinks so. With Heather’s Duke and McNamara leaderless, Heather Duke thinks it only fair to adopt this role and use her ‘best friend’s’ death as a platform to increase her own popularity, nothing says ‘I’m in deep mourning’ like running to every TV show you can think of. Smaller characters such as Martha, Ram and Kurt, still pack a punch, Martha struggles to deal with a rejection from her childhood crush, Ram, and attempts a tragic suicide, after failing she is branded a loser. Kurt and Ram’s drunken shenanigans provide us with some great quality entertainment and an insight into the teenage boy’s mind, the rumors they spread label Veronica as a ‘slut’. So as you can see, each character we see in the show has their own somewhat distorted sense of humour, making the show as interesting and enthralling as you can think of.
Now, although the characters and plot lines follow some hilarious and wild paths, this show also tells the story through the eyes of a teenager. Giving us some very realistic views on life and everything it contains. Heathers covers a lot of themes we sometimes don’t get to see in other shows, such as depression and suicide. But it also communicates a lot more than that, we see alcohol abuse, and mental illness. The struggles of being a young adult are really focused on in this show, that’s one of the reason this is my favourite shows. It touches on everyone in one way or another, either reminding you of your years in high school, the parties and the wild relationships, or the slightly darker side of being a teenager growing up.
A musical would not be complete without an amazing soundtrack and this one is no different, it’s rock inspired musical numbers reflect that certain era of teenage angst and rebellion. With it’s catchy lyrics and tunes this is a soundtrack you will have on repeat for weeks, I know I do. You know you’ve found a gem of a musical when you get songs that make you laugh out loud to yourself, as you try and sing along. Here’s a quick breakdown of the track list and roughly what the songs are about;
- Beautiful – Veronica introduces us to Westerburg High and we get to meet everyone!
- Candy Store – The Heather’s squad let Veronica know her place in the social hierarchy of the school.
- Fight for Me – We see Veronica and J.D have a moment…or should I say Veronica has a moment as J.D gets punched in the face in slow motion?
- Freeze Your Brain – J.D gives us a small insight into his mangled mess of a mind, but also makes us feel a bit sorry about his attachment to 7-Elevens.
- Big Fun – The gang goes to a party but it all seems to go wrong for Veronica…
- Dead Girl Walking – Veronica realises that in her last few days as a popular girl she’s got a let her hair down, she also thinks that sneaking into J.D’s bedroom is a good way to start a relationship.
- The Me Inside of Me – Never commit a murder and make the victim seem more emotionally deep and meaningful in her forged suicide letter than she actually is…
- Blue – Kurt and Ram have a bit of an issue and think Veronica is a good way to solve their problems.
- Our Love Is God – J.D tries to convince Veronica that what they are doing is all for the greater good.
- My Dead Gay Son – Kurt and Ram’s father’s deliver a heartfelt meaningful song at their joint funeral, inspiring everyone to really accept their son’s gay love.
- Seventeen – Veronica tries to talk some sense into J.D and convince him to live like a normal teenager instead of a psychotic murderer for once.
- Shine a Light – Ms. Fleming, one of the teachers at the school, tries to make the school share their deepest insecurities…it does not go well.
- Lifeboat – Heather McNamara delivers a beautiful song, touching on the struggles of teenage depression.
- Kindergarten Boyfriend – Martha relives her childhood in a dreamlike description, it’s beautiful if you’re into unicorns, and creepy obsession.
- Yo Girl – Veronica is tormented by the people she’s helped kill, and the idea that she’s a target in J.D’s plan is becoming very real.
- Meant to Be Yours – We finally see some true emotion from J.D as he mourns, he even considers changing his whole plan…and then he ruins it all and defeats the whole realisation that he’s doing wrong.
- I Am Damaged – Veronica and J.D have a face-to-face talk about the impending doom and the fact that no one is perfect and no one will ever be perfect.
- Seventeen (Reprise) – Veronica and Martha reconnect and we get a surprisingly happy ending, as we see Veronica become a leader, but more of the good kind.
So there we have it, not only does Heathers provide quality entertainment, it deals with some real life issues, through the medium of happy, clappy songs…well some of them. I highly recommend you take a look at the soundtrack, each and every song. This is a show that will not only get your toes tapping, you’ll be standing and clapping at the end of every night.